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Offensive approach varies for Yanks, Rangers

Offensive approach varies for Yanks, Rangers

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NEW YORK -- As Yankees veteran Jorge Posada raced around the basepaths during Wednesday's 7-2 win, the 39-year-old catcher -- far from fleet-footed -- caused some amusement in New York's dugout, most notably among captain Derek Jeter.

"There were some giggles on the bench when they saw Jorge running and running," manager Joe Girardi said of Posada's second-inning run, which saw him score all the way from first base on Curtis Granderson's right-field single. "It's not something that you always see."


Posada, the benefactor of Texas outfielder Jeff Francoeur's throwing error on the play, didn't just provide some sorely needed laughs. His second-inning RBI single, which scored Alex Rodriguez for the first run of the game, gave the Yankees a rare piece of productive hitting, a facet of the game dominated by an aggressive Rangers team, who holds a 3-2 edge in the American League Championship Series.

"You start putting these [Yankees] on the bag, they do what they do and they make you pay for it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of a New York lineup that turned out nine hits Wednesday night, including six for extra bases.

Conversely, the Rangers, who hit .405 (15-for-37) with runners in scoring position in the series' first four games, delivered 13 hits that largely went for naught. Texas went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight baserunners in Wednesday's loss.

"Yeah, it is pretty rare," Ian Kinsler said of the Rangers' 11 hits off starter CC Sabathia equating to just two runs.

Actually, it's really rare. The Rangers are just the second team in postseason history -- joining the 1920 Brooklyn Dodgers -- to collect 13 hits and score two or fewer runs.

"He was honestly kind of effectively wild," Kinsler said of Sabathia, who struck out seven but didn't issue a walk. "He wouldn't really give us anything in the middle of the plate; it was tough to get some runs off him. We were able to get some guys on. We just weren't able to get that hit to get over the top."

Added Francoeur: "As good as that [13 hits] is, we weren't able to have a ball in the gap and try to run some. That hurt us."

Momentum might only be as good as the next day's starter -- as the old baseball adage goes -- but getting the big hit when your team needs it has a way of bringing dugouts to their feet pretty quick. You don't see players kissing their necklaces or pointing to the sky and thanking God for nothing, as Rangers catcher Bengie Molina did following his game-changing, go-ahead three-run homer in the Rangers' Game 4 win.

Offense matters, and it's no coincidence that the Yankees' abysmal numbers with runners in scoring position in Games 2-4 -- where they posted a combined .111 (3-for-27) mark -- resulted in three consecutive defeats. Yes, New York is hitting just .217 (5-for-23) with runners in scoring position in its two series wins, but consider that both times it was a key hit that lead that helped open the flood gates.

On Wednesday, it was Posada's hit that helped set the tone, just like Rodriguez and Robinson's Cano's pair of eighth-inning RBI singles scored three runs to tie Game 1 and help New York overcome a four-run deficit.

"As much as we are trying to accomplish what we want, there's always a neutralizing factor, and of course that's the other team," Granderson said of New York's ability to play its game Wednesday night. "We were just able to do a couple more things right today."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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